Symbolism, Part 1
OVERVIEW In this Liber we begin the study of the important concept of Symbolism. You will need to have a good grasp of Symbolism - of numbers, words, and diagrams - to appreciate the riches of much esoteric writing. Three Lectures will introduce you to Symbolism of Numbers. An important Exercise, Single Awareness, will help you raise your consciousness. Then you will find two Essays you will certainly find helpful. Lastly is Part 1 of an Optional article on The Ancient Mysteries and Secret Societies (to be concluded in Liber 3). By the way, dont forget to review the First Charge in Liber 1!
The Symbolism of Numbers (1) My Brothers and Sisters: There are many systems of counting, apart from the universal one based on nine distinct numerals and a cipher (zero). Some primitive peoples cannot write more than two symbols for numbers and must repeat these in a rather complicated manner in signifying even small quantities. Our own system which developed among Arabian philosophers under the name of algebra (from Al Jebr, meaning the resetting of things which have been separated) is known as the Base 10 System and probably owes its origin to the ten digits of our hands. Before we consider the 10 Emanations of Omneity numerologically, we must understand the Martinist teaching of theosophic reduction and theosophic addition. This is rather like a fascinating game! Please write down the figures 1, 4 and 7. You have a number which is called one hundred and forty-seven. Theosophic reduction is an operation that reduces a number made up of more than one numeral, to a single digit. To do it we add together the numerals of the number: 1 + 4 + 7 = 12 and 1 + 2 = 3, so the theosophic reduction of 147 = 3. Does everybody understand? Let us try again with the number 2350: 2 + 3 + 5 + 0 = 10, which in turn reduces to 1. So the theosophic reduction of 2350 = 1. Theosophic reduction is a very simple exercise, perhaps you have met it already. If you have, you have probably noticed that the addition of nines can never alter the ultimate answer when reduced to a single figure. It is almost as if 9 is a non-entity. Let us have an example: We will take the number 13. This reduces to 4. Now let us take the number 139. This adds to 13 which reduces again to 4, so we see the addition of the 9 did not affect the end result. Write down these numbers: 9 + 81 + 126 + 7. Straightaway we can reduce this to 7 because 81 and 126 both add to 9 and as we have noticed, nines do not alter the end result While on the subject of the number 9 you will notice also that any number multiplied by 9, when reduced, returns to 9. Try it!
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The other operation which Martinists use in numerology is theosophic addition. This process is applied to only one number at a time and it should be mentioned that the theosophic addition of a number is not always reduced to one digit. Theosophic addition is done by adding all the numbers below the selected number to the selected number itself. For example, if we wished to have the theosophic addition of the number 4, we would proceed by adding all the numbers from 4 down to 1, thus: 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 10. The theosophic addition of 8 would be 8 + 7 + 6 + 5 + 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 36. Is this clear? Let us notice, remembering the number 9, that when theosophically added, 9 = 45 and this reduces to 9... thus we can see how 9 returns to itself. This will be significant when you learn to analyze the manifested world outside yourself and learn to read the Book of Nature. Our Venerated Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin was a keen student of Numbers as you will discover if you read Theosophic Correspondence a book of letters written between him and Baron Von Liebistorf of Switzerland during the years of the French Revolution. We recommend this book to all our members as a good background study of our Ven. M In an earlier conventicle we learned about the Mystical Alphabet of symbols, which is an outward reflection of mankinds interior knowledge. By now, you, as a young member of our Order, should be forming, your own conception of how your mind works in order to express truths which are universal, and so, rooted in the Divine Nature of our First Estate. We endeavor to express these inner unconscious urges in terms of ideas collected from the external world, as perceived by one or more of our five physical senses. This brings us to the Martinist Doctrines of Divine Emanations. The innermost, or, if you prefer it, the highest sphere of Being is known as Omneity, the Perfect Totality of Existence. Since all forms of life unite in this changeless, unmanifested point, which has no beginning because it is timeless, and no position because it is everywhere, it then contains no separate parts which would of necessity be relatively less than perfect. It also follows, that we, as apparently separate persons, can have no consciousness of such a state.
Without separate consciousness there can be no differences. Without differences or contrasts there is no choice. Without choice, no Will can be exerted.
To study the so-called Fall of Man from Perfect Unity into a lesser Divine state of diversity, we make use of symbols which are common to all Orders of Initiation, namely: numbers. This measure of common ground with other esoteric Fraternities was foreshadowed at an earlier conventicle. In clearing the ground for the successful sowing of Spiritual seed, and the correct building of the Spiritual Temple, let us remember that Omneity is not just represented by the number One, for Omneity is both immanent and transcendent. It (or God, if you prefer) is both above manifestation and within it. One is the Martinists abstract symbol for Omneity which is not a separate One because it is All, and yet it is not conditioned or limited to All Manifestation because it remains also Above and Beyond All. This is the first metaphysical point which our Order presents to those who seek the Divine Gnosis or Spiritual illumination. (THERE IS A GREAT DEAL HERE FOR STUDY AND MEDITATION. DO NOT PASS OVER THIS WITH SCANT REGARD. )
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Having commenced our search by recognizing that there is a Source which cannot be consciously known until we return there, we shall discuss and meditate upon the concept of the Number One as a symbol of the First Emanation or Common Point of Emanation of the Cosmos. Tradition holds that the most highly evolved Beings are aware of Ten Emanations or Planes of Existence, descending through which we have reached our present troubled state in the seeming freedom of the Forest of Errors. Through these same Ten must we return to Omneity, consciously now1, and forever aware that true freedom is the Liberation of the Spirit of Mankind. Our Free Will to choose this Path was evolved at a price, namely: The Fall of Man. On the Path of Return we have to direct our hard-won consciousness into harmony with the Divine Emanations. Shall we so use our Will? If so, how? Questions for your own edification:
1) What is the theosophical addition of the number 12?
2) What is the theosophical reduction of the number 191?
3) Give .the meanings of the words Theosophy, Omneity Immanent and Transcendent. 4) What do you understand by The Fall of Man?
5) Can we, as individual human beings, know God?
6) What is a symbol?
7) Explain the meaning of a Divine Law, or Universal Law.
8) Does God intervene
(a) in the workings of the Universe? (b) in the affairs of Man?
1 consciously now i.e. by a conscious effort. On the Path of Descent there was no option of free will (we had no alternative); but the Path of Return (Ascent) demands of us first a decision In full consciousness, following the awakening of the will to return.
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LECTURE The Symbolism of Numbers (2)
Dear Bro and S At our last conventicle, we stated that numbers are universal symbols. We studied the symbolism of One, the Monad, the Absolute. Tonight we will continue with our study of numbers and then touch upon another subject of especial interest to all Martinists. To begin, let us clarify an important point regarding numbers. You have heard it said that some numbers are benefic in the sense that they exercise a good influence; and that others are malefic exercising a bad influence. We must avoid at all times falling into superstition. Numbers have a good or bad character only in so far as they symbolize good or bad things, or let us say: positive or negative thoughts. Let us emphasize that Numbers have no magical influence in themselves. They are nothing but arbitrary signs by which we frame a certain concept. There can therefore be no good or evil numbers but only good or evil thoughts in our minds. The number 2 stands for division; duality as opposed to unity; passivity as opposed to activity; and in general, opposition. We shall recognize here the principles of the Binary Law and of polarity. We shall not delve into the symbolism of 2 at this point, as it will be studied at length later on. The number 3 symbolizes manifestation. The Triangle, which is another way of expressing the same meaning, is the first figure of geometry. Only when there are three points, can we, by linking them with lines, draw a figure that has a form of substance in the sense that it has surface area. One is a concept that cannot be exactly represented, because even the tiniest dot still has width. From a metaphysical point of view One can therefore only be conceived of mentally. Two only describes one dimension, as the line, without width that unites 2 points. But since even the finest line still has width, Two also cannot be e